AC Sparta Praha will welcome a notable old boy back to Prague as Jozef Chovanec brings ŠK Slovan Bratislava across the border in UEFA Europa League Group I.
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AC Sparta Praha beat ŠK Slovan Bratislava 3-0 in Bratislava on matchday three, with their home record this season making this UEFA Europa League Group I rematch an intimidating prospect for the visitors.
• Slovan's 3-0 loss to Sparta on matchday three – the sides' first meeting since the break-up of the former Czechoslovakia – matched the margin of their previous heaviest home defeat in Europe, a 3-0 loss to GNK Dinamo Zagreb in September 2000. It was also Sparta's biggest away success in this competition.
• Sparta have won all four of their European home games this season, scoring 17 goals in the process – an average of over four per match.
• Slovan are without a win in six European outings (D2 L4), a run during which they have scored only once. They have the worst goal difference in the group stage (-10), having scored none and conceded ten. They have hit the woodwork three times in their first three games.
• After 16 matches between clubs representing the two halves of the former Czechoslovakia, the Czech teams have the edge – just: W7 D3 L6.
Trivia and links
• Slovan midfielder Igor Žofčák played for Sparta from 2007 to 2010, helping the club win the Czech title during his final season in Prague.
• Sparta goalkeeper David Bičík (2008-10) and Slovakian defender Michal Breznaník (2007-10) are both former Slovan players.
• Slovan's Tomáš Jablonský (2003-09) and Pavel Fořt (2003-07 and 2009) played for Sparta's arch-rivals SK Slavia Praha.
• Slovan's only previous group stage campaign was in 2011/12, when they picked up just one point from six games.
• As a midfielder, Vítězslav Lavička represented Sparta in three spells, and in 2012 embarked on his third stint as the club's coach, previous postings having seen him lead the Czech Under-21 team and Australian side Sydney FC.
• Slovan's František Straka became the first coaching casualty of the 2014/15 UEFA Europa League when he was dismissed on 6 October, the Slovakian champions having won only once in their previous ten games. Straka is thus unable to face the club he previously played for and coached, with current boss Lavička among his former Sparta team-mates (1983-84 and 1987-88).
• Slovan's new coach is another man with a significant Sparta past, Jozef Chovanec. The former Czechoslovakia defender played over 300 games in three spells at Sparta, also moving abroad to represent PSV Eindhoven. Chovanec has also coached Sparta on four separate occasions, and led the Czech national team from 1998 to 2001.